Friday, January 27, 2012

Curried Noodle Soup -- almost like Khao Soi

"Khai Se" -- said with an East Bengal accent followed by scratching of head or any other decent body part translates to "Oh My Gosh(OMG)"

And no not the "OMG!OMG!!! you look so pretty" said to the bride.

Rather "OMG! #$%#$%!!! I am so sorry. I spilled my greasy butter paneer on your wedding saree" kinda "OMG".

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So I wanted to say I made "Khao Soi" because that is what my heart was set on. And I did make "Khao Soi", at least what I thought was Khao Soi. But what I thought might not be exactly what the Burmese thought or the Northern Thai people thought. If they ate my "Khao Soi" in all probability they would say "Khai Se".

I really, honestly did not want to take a Burmese grandmother's curry noodle dish and make a "kachumbar" out of it and then screw up their Gross Hapiness Product. I do not have the guts to do it. I love happy grandmothers. So my "kachumbar" henceforth will be referred to as Curried Noodle Soup -- almost like Khao Soi; the almost saves it. Burmese or Thai grandmothers might find this by Chez Pim more close to heart.

I roughly followed this beautiful recipe from Veggie Belly, rough being the keyword in all I do. She has b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l pictures. The pictures are so beautiful that I skipped steps and even then managed to make the most delicious soup ever.

I wanted the soup to be vegetarian. Not fond of chicken in my soup. Was tilting towards shrimp but stopped and went total veg. It was a delicious soup. Really good. So good that I didn't even share it with anyone. Now that it is all over I thought I can share with you maybe.


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Heat 1 tbsp oil in a soup pot. Flavor the oil with a clove of garlic. When the garlic starts turning brown, remove it from the oil

Now add some vegetables like mushroom, zucchini, carrots, colorful bell peppers etc. I went with finely sliced carrots and thin semi-circular discs of zucchini and orange bell peppers very finely chopped. Saute all of this for a couple of minutes

Next add 1 tbsp of red curry paste and 1 tsp of curry powder. Now homemade-shome made is best but honestly I just went with store bought. With a sprinkle of water mix it with veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes

Now soy sauce time. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce and then 1 tsp of dark brown sugar.

Ta-Da. Every one's favorite coconut milk time now. Add 1 cup of C.Milk + 1 cup of water.Add salt to taste and let it simmer.

Meanwhile cook some noodles to al-dente. Once the noodles are cooked I immediately wash in cold water and toss with just a tiny drop of oil.

Once the veggies are done and soup is ready, pour soup in a bowl, add some noodles to the bowl and then garnish, garnish, garnish. Wait I forgot to garnish !!! All I did is add some lime juice and then a hot chili-garlic sauce.
You my dear reader is supposed to add crispy rice noodles, pickled mustard greens, green onions, lime and such.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vegetarian Sweet Corn Soup

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Everybody and their nephew must already know how to make a Sweet Corn Soup. I didn't. Before Jan 16th that is. I didn't even want to know. Sweet Corn Soup wasn't the kind of soup I ordered at a restaurant. At a restaurant I usually skip the soup. Except of course if it is Thai where I can practically live on the soup. And if it is Panera where I go to torture myself.

But on Jan 16th after all the PatiShapta and whatnot I went to the gym. It was a miracle that I remembered the co-ordinates given that I was going there after months.

And then I did something I should have never, ever done.

No, not steal towels silly. I stepped on the shiny, new digital scale there.

For a fraction of a second there was dead silence all around, the Zumba ladies froze with their clenched derrieres suspended in mid-air, the treadmills came to a stand still, the spinners hunched on their shoulders forgot to look up, the water drop from the water fountain forgot to drip. And then amidst clanging bells a voice from nowhere said "Beti jao, soup piyo" Translated in English "Go home and drink soup" but the Hindi actually has more punch to it.

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I went home enlightened.

Before that I bought two small cans of sweet corn.

And then I told Mom: "Ma, today I will cook and then we will drink only soup for dinner"

Ma: "Ok, but after you eat rice and maacher jhol"

Me: "I guess you didn't understand me. ONLY soup for dinner. NO rice. I need to lose the whole 3 lbs that I gained since November to go back to a weight that was far from ideal in the first place"

Ma: "Why, what is wrong with rice. What has it to do with weight?"

Me: "Rice is grains and that translates to Carb. Dear lady have you not heard of South Beach-Palm beach-Myrtle Beach and such where humans do not eat rice and thus achieve a figure like Priyanka Chopra."

Ma: "That is okay, Priyanka Chopra is much younger than you. You eat Ruti. You know our neighbor in Kolkata, the Sen's, since her son relocated to Gurgaon they only speak Hindi and eat Ruti"

Me: " But Maaa...Ruti=Wheat=Grains. What did I say?"

My Mother gives me the royal ignore: "Do whatever you want. It is your house, your kitchen. but at this age don't tell me that eating rice one gets fat. It is exercise that you need to do."

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Enter BigSis: "What soup are you going to make Mommy? The Thai Shrimp soup?"

Me: "Nope.Sweet Corn Soup. Remember in 2008 March you had it at N's house and loved it. Well that is what I am going to make for dinner today. Ta-da."

BigSis: "You know what, I am actually full. Didun gave me maacher chop after school. I really don't need dinner today"

The husband man knew the menu that comes up in January and so is already on the first half of his extended travel plan where they do meetings in BeerGartens.

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So I made a huge vat of soup and am eating it or drinking it (what ever is grammatically correct) all by myself for three days. I can do anything. I am also having the maacher jhol and bhaat. And then day before actually had dinner at a Portugese place where I ate paella and clams and lobsters. In between the soup is keeping me warm.

The recipe I kinda followed is this one here, but I did not add chicken or ajino moto or eggs.Instead I added thinly sliced carrots. Mushroom would have been good but I did not have any. I also used garlic, soy sauce, chilis and vinegar. I used the Sweet Corn Cream Style in a can and so the whole thing was pretty effortless. It actually tasted pretty good too and BigSis did have a bowl of it.

Heat 1 tsp Olive Oil. Add 1 fat clove of garlic minced to flavor the oil. Add some finely chopped green chili and then the thinly sliced carrots. Next add 1 tsp of Soy Sauce and a splash of the stock or water. Cover and let the carrot cook. Once the carrots are almost done add the sweet corn, about 1 cup of it.

Next a little vinegar followed by 1 whole can of chicken or vegetable broth. Meanwhile mix 1 tbsp of Corn flour with 4 tbsp of cold water. Add this to the pot. Add salt to taste. Let the soup simmer to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with chopped scallion.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

PatiShapta on Sankranti -- with a touch of Nutella and Maple Syrup

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I really had no intention to make a dessert again today. Sankranti, Columbus Day, Republic Day -- no, I wasn't going to celebrate them by making anything sweet. Enough !! My Ma though had other ideas. She had already made the coconut-kheer stuffing and was all ready to launch into Poush-Parbon frenzy.

"Nah, no more sweets. Do you realize how much of sugar we have consumed all through December?"

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My Ma, a very sparse eater herself of course did not consume all that.But I was quiet adamant. Then she said she would make some moog-samali. I of course had no idea, what that was. She wanted to do a savory version of it which needed green peas.We had no green peas.

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Then this happened. Late yesterday night, Poli sent a mail asking for a Pati Shapta recipe for her boys. I was filled with guilt. My girls deserved something sweet on Sankranti, I thought. And so do my parents. And well the husband. And maybe me too, a tiny bite. What is a tiny bite in fact in the bigger scheme of Poush Parbon.

The recipe is same as my old one. No rice flour this time. If you scroll down there I have updated the batter recipe.

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Also I have smeared with nutella the inside of the pati-shapta because the kids love nutella more than the coconut-kheer thingy. Drizzled with some maple syrup these were soft, sweet delights for the new beginnings of a new season. Never mind that is just cold, winter here.

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Pati Shapta Recipe


Gokul Pithe Recipe

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alu Kabli -- the Bongo Potato Salad

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"Go, watch a movie", my Mother prods. She does this every time she is here. Religiously, during the course of her six months of stay, she asks me to go out to a movie theater. To a multiplex, with digital screens, buckets of popcorn, large glasses of coke, the whole zing-bang. She says it the same way she asks me to take my vitamins, calcium , drink milk, exercise, kapalbhaati, breath in-out.

If she had put so much effort early on in my life, I could have watched QSQT, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Roja, Bazigar, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, all first day , first show. But that never happened.

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Even now there are constraints. She doesn't want me to go and watch any movie by myself, my friends or even with her.The movie has to be watched along with my legally wedded husband, the D, only. That is the rule she lays down. Watching movie at the theaters with one's spouse, is the litmus test by which she checks all izz well between me and the guy.

Can't blame her. There is little else to rest one's faith on when all you see the couple arguing over is, "You get the Milk from Costco, I will pick up Bitter Gourd from Patel", "I did all the pickups and drop off last week when you were traveling, this week you better pick BS up from karate"

I take up my Mother's proposal with much hope, excitement even. Three hours away from clinging kids in a dimmed room with Shahrukh Khan/Farhan Akhtar/Tom Cruise and a glass of chilled coke doesn't sound too bad. If things go okay, we can hold hands even (without arguing). The husband however is not much enthused. He would rather watch "how they make shiny steely razors" instead on SCI, stretched out on the couch and eat Haldiram's Nav Ratan Bhujia.

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Also the movies I want to watch is not the ones he would be caught seeing, even in a dark theater. At least not anymore.Sickly mushy romantic movies with a touch of humor are my genre. He likes the rock, car chases, hooded men and anything animated. Even if we agree on the animated we cannot white-lie a eight year old and say "We have to pick up groceries" when all we are doing is going to watch Tintin in 3D.

With every movie that we finally do not watch and argue instead, my Ma wants to dial Ajmeri Baba on hot-line.

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Finally we do. Not call Ajmeri Baba. Watch a movie. At the theater. With a large glass of coke half filled with ice and toasted nachos. The nachos are terrible and I really wish there was something better. Alu-Kabli would have been perfect. Tangy with a tamarind chutney, salty with sprinkles of pink salt, hot with the tiny pieces of green chlili. It would have perfectly matched the excitement of Ethan Hunt rappelling down the Burj.

Next time maybe. A year later. And then maybe we can also hold hands.

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Alu Kabli is the easiest thing that you can make in your lifetime. All you have to do in the cooking department is cook potatoes or rather boil them. You can do that step in the MW, stove top or the Pressure Cooker. Baas, you are done. To make life easy use a can of chickpeas which you drain, rinse and then just eat. If you do not have access to canned ones, you need to soak chickpeas overnight and then cook till they are soft and edible.

When I had asked in FB months ago, Eve's Lungs had this about Alu Kabli-- "tiny cubed pots, soaked red chana, onions chopped small,motor boiled ,cucumber - small diced , dhania patta , loads of imli , bhaja moshla,kalo noon and yummo"
Tanushree said -- "plus u have to have kacha lanka and chine badam..................must. "

Mine does not have cucumber, coriander leaves or roasted peanuts. If you want add them to yours.


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Alu Kabli


Boil 2 medium potatoes in their jacket.Peel and then cube. Soak chickpeas overnight and cook them till soft. OR buy a can of chickpeas, drain, rinse well and use.

Chop half of a large onion in small pieces. Chop about 6 small green chili in thin rounds.

Dry roast 1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds till they roast to a nice smell. Dry roast or char by holding directly on fire two Dry red Chili. Okay, only one for the faint hearted. Dry grind the cumin seeds and red chili together to make a fine powder called Bhaja Masla.

In a bowl add 2 tbsp of Tamarind Chutney, 2 tbsp water, 1 tsp of Bhaja Masla, a little salt to taste and 2 of the finely chopped green chili. Mix well.Note: I used Deep Brand Tamarind Chutney, you can also make your own

In another bowl assemble the potatoes and a cup of boiled chickpeas.Sprinkle rest of the bhaja masla, some pink salt according to taste, the chopped green chili and the chopped onion. Squeeze a little of lime juice, maybe a teaspoonful. Toss together and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Now dole out a serving in a bowl. Drizzle the tamarind water you made. Garnish with some more chili and onion. Sprinkle with some hot sev if you wish. Eat immediately.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Happy New Year and the Beet Posto

I wanted to start the New Year on this blog with something very profound and meaningful, maybe even a bit philosophical with a swirl of spiritual thrown in. Something which would ensure that I wasn't really high on Tequila on the 31st, which btw I wasn't. Honest. I wanted to say stuff like "What does Happy New year mean "? What is "happy" after all ? Who decides "Happy" and what is it with "Prosperous" ? Why the rat race to prosper, why push someone towards it ?

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Cups courtesy S&A


And then I spent so much time pondering over such deep, meaningful stuff that I scratched all that crap and said nothing.

Given that I was also tired, I kept shut. Ten days that involves trips to Washington DC, two mid-night drives to New York city to just check out the lights, stuffy noses, runny noses, Christmas party, movie nights, Mission Impossible and lots of food does that to you. We really did have a lot of fun during the winter break and the kids enjoyed it a lot. Both my girls are very "cling-to-family-with suction cap" types and BigSis is the kind who would really thrive in a joint family. So the time she got to spend with grandparents and pishi and cousin were very precious to her.

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New york sells hot dogs and pretzels and what nots in cold December @11:30 in the night.

All this meant I kept away from the internet and was making a nice habit out of it until today when I felt if I haven't wished you guys loads of Happiness on the new Year I might as well provide you some entertainment by telling you about some of the comments I got while I was away.

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Here is a sample which has uplifted me to no end in the New Year.

by Order Female Viagra --You have a very good blog that the main thing a lot of interesting and useful!

by Hoover-F5914900-Steamvac -- wow nice..you won't believe how long this dish has been running in my head. I just have to make it soon! And this on Kadhai paneer
. Things have really gotten dirty here ! That "running" cracked me up.

by milwaukee carpet cleaners - These meaty mushrooms marinate in oil, onion, garlic and vinegar for an hour before they are tossed on a hot grill to cook to perfection.
What is with carpet cleaners and my blog. Hell..ll...o?

by Classified Ads Delhi --Almost people like to write what he said, But I like to listen what they said, Your post is very good. Thanks! Yeah "Thanks" to you too , very profound.

Now that you know you are in good company, lets talk about food.

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Very abstract look at Beet root and poppy seeds. Pic take way back in Fall.

A couple of you had asked about the Beet posto in my last post. It is my Ma's recipe. My Ma is always brimming with things to cook. To give her some rest in the kitchen, the only way out is to lock it. That alas cannot be done with the open plan here. The cookie cutter architect did not know of my Mother.

My Ma made this Beet Posto a couple of times when it struck me that it might be a good thing to share with you guys here. So one fine morning I gave her a tape measure, a scale, a vernier caliper and asked her to please note down the measures when she makes her beet posto.

She made the Beet Posto. The recipe was something like this. The tape measure had been forgotten.

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Peel and chop Beet Root in thin slices. Now heat some white oil in a fry pan. Temper the oil with Kalonji/Nigella seeds and few green chilies slit. Add finely sliced onions and fry the onion till it is soft and translucent. Add the beet slices. Toss nicely, add salt to taste and cook till beet is almost done. You can actually follow this recipe of beet gajor chechki if you are confused.

Now comes the posto part. Dry grind posto to a dry powder and mix with water to make a thick paste. Alternately make a wet paste of posto with a couple of green chilies thrown in. When the beet is almost done, add the poppy seed paste and fry for couple of minutes. Sprinkle some water as necessary, add salt to taste and cook till the vegetables are all done.

The dish is a dry one and can be enjoyed with both roti and rice.

Oh and you guys Please do Have the Loveliest New Year. To be Happy you don't need to start on Jan 1st. Begin today.

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